Author Topic: The director of the FBI says the whole of Chinese society is a threat to the US  (Read 87 times)

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Offline JA DU ( transracial)

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FBI director Christopher Wray reiterated a commonly held view on Tuesday that China is seeking to become a global superpower through unconventional means — but framed the threat China poses to the US as not just a governmental one, but as a societal one, too.

Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee alongside the heads of other US intelligence agencies, Wray told Senators that China is using a host of methods to undermine American military, economic, cultural, and informational power across the globe that rely on more than just China's state institutions.

"One of the things we're trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole of government threat, but a whole of society threat on their end," Wray said, "and I think it's going to take a whole-of-society response by us."
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed a similar sentiment after Sen. Marco Rubio asked him about China's plans to overtake the US as the world's supreme world power.

"There is no question that what you have just articulated is what's happening with China," Coats said. "They're doing it in a very smart way; they're doing it in a very effective way; they are looking beyond their own region."
Coats said multiple agencies are conducting "intensive studies" to understand the ways China is looking to carry out its global agenda.
The double-edged sword of open academics

Wray pointed to China's use of unconventional intelligence sources at US universities as a salient example of China's reach.
In intelligence jargon, "collectors" are individuals who collect intelligence on behalf of agencies or governments. And he said they've infiltrated American universities.
"I think in this setting, I would just say that the use of non-traditional collectors — especially in the academic setting, whether it's professors, scientists, students — we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country," Wray said.

"They're exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have which we all revere, but they're taking advantage of it," Wray added, noting that there is a "naiveté" amid academics about the risks posed by foreign nationals at universities.

As Wray mentioned, the openness of academia in general contributes to an open flow of ideas across the globe and the overall advancement of human knowledge and innovation.

To this end, US universities admit over a million international students, and Chinese students make up the largest share of these students. Nearly 329,000 Chinese nationals were enrolled in American colleges during the 2015-2016 school year, according to TIME.

While there is no evidence that a majority of Chinese students or academics pose any threat to US interests, there are a number of education efforts that the Chinese government uses as vehicles for soft power.

The first of these are the Confucius Institutes, which Rubio alluded to during his questioning of Wray and Coats at the Senate hearing.
These institutes mirror many other foreign-language education entities that countries fund around the world, but with a couple caveats. Rather than existing as stand-alone bodies, they are inserted into US universities, and in addition to teaching Mandarin Chinese, they also reportedly engage in disseminating Chinese propaganda and restricting what professors and students should say.

As a result of the dangers to open expression posed by these institutes, the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State have already closed the Confucius Institutes on their campuses. Other global universities have followed suit.

Confucius Institutes also have a strong presence on the African continent, where China is also in the process of growing its economic and political power. Africans in countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe are encouraged to view China as a positive economic force and a source of progress and opportunity as part of the "Look East" policy many African countries have implemented.

As a result of this push, the number of African students in China has skyrocketed over the last 10 years.
Chinese cybersecurity threats
During Tuesday's Senate hearing, the top US intel chiefs drew attention to Chinese cybersecurity strategies.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, also released Tuesday, outlines China's online capabilities in detail.
"China will continue to use cyber espionage and bolster cyber attack capabilities to support national security priorities," the report concluded. Coats added that China's cyber activity is at much lower levels than it was before September 2015, but is still threatening

Most Chinese cyber operations that the US has detected targeting private industry are against defense contractors, IT, and communications firms. The assessment said these companies are often ones that support the international operations of both the US government and the private sector.
As a result of these findings, several intelligence heads reaffirmed the necessity to beef up US counterintelligence efforts in cyberspace. Many identified it as one of the top priorities for the intelligence community in the coming year.

With so many facets of American society under threat, Wray said it would take a lot more than just work from intelligence agencies to combat China.
"It's not just the intelligence community," he said, "but it's raising awareness within our academic sector, within our private sector, as part of the defense."

"Frankly, the United States is under attack," Coats said, "by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place" within the US.

Offline JA DU ( transracial)

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the leaders of the US intelligence community delivered landmark testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and the many hours of statements have given the public a glimpse into Washington’s priorities and goals in a tumultuous time.
Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear interviewed three guests on the testimony: Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, a feminist progressive grassroots organization; Bill Binney, a famous whistleblower who spent 30 years with the National Security Agency (NSA) before leaving the agency over what he has described as its "totalitarian" approach to surveillance; and Ajit Singh, a Marxist and anti-imperialist writer and activist.

"I was surprised to hear, for example, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats said that the US deficit was a threat," said Benjamin. "That was something very new — of course, nobody followed up and asked if the deficit is a threat — [if] the US military budget is almost 16 percent of our discretionary funds, then isn't the military budget a threat?"

Benjamin continued narrating the proceedings, adding that a major theme of the testimony was a pivot in US foreign policy where the main threats were no longer Islamic militant groups such as al Qaeda and Daesh but instead great powers such as China and Russia.

"Then Marco Rubio (R-FL) came out saying that he thought the biggest threat to the US was China and went on to talk about how China wants to overtake the United States as the superpower. There was quite a lot of talk about that, with a conclusion by Mark Warner (D-VA) saying that the US now has the greatest military equipment that money could buy, but it's the wrong kind of equipment to fight the wars in the cybersecurity issues that we are now facing today."

Becker brought up a quote from Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who during the testimony called for the development of a doctrine of retaliation as a deterrence against future cyberattacks, and asked Binney what he thought of such an idea.

"[US intelligence agencies have] had thousands of attacks that they've known about and weaknesses in systems that we currently use, and they've never fixed them," Binney replied. "And because they've never been fixed, we've all been vulnerable. I've always maintained they should have fixed the problem they knew about first and then if we get attacked, then there'd be a much simpler way of of addressing the attack or the new weaknesses."

"They're keeping us insecure in cyber and they're trying to trying to swindle us out of more money to do things like create a bigger military or other kinds of budget increases and so on. Until they really start being honest with us and start fixing the problems they know about, we're all being strung along."
Becker then asked Singh about China, a nation mentioned numerous times in the hearing, and why Washington feels so threatened by the emergence of Beijing as a rival.
"The Trump administration has demonstrated consistently that it [considers China to primarily be a threat] economically," Singh replied. "It's been concerned primarily with combating, via protectionist policies and so-called 'America First' strategic orientation, technology transfers with the Chinese."

"It also seems to be concerned with the growing competitiveness of Chinese state and private corporations internationally, relative to American corporations and I think it's concerned with the role that China's international economic relations are playing in terms of growing diplomatic relations and rapprochement with countries around the world — most noticeably through China's signature Belt and Road initiative, which has already received cooperation with over 70 countries in 1,700 different development projects."

"Those are the three main factors of what the United States is concerned with here. The United States has been mired for decades in economic stagnation and recession and I think it's becoming increasingly attuned towards its declining dominance and declining power relative towards China. The United States doesn't seem to be able to impose its will on other countries quite to the same degree as it has previously and one aspect of the Trump administration's strategy has been military buildup in Asia."

Offline JA DU ( transracial)

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Marco Rubio: China’s plan is to replace US global power. 13 Feb 2018

Offline JA DU ( transracial)

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FBI director warns Chinese spies are embedded in American universities

FBI director Christopher Wray said Chinese spies are embedded in American universities, sparking outrage among Asian-American advocacy groups who slammed the remarks as “dangerous and irresponsible.”

Wray warned against China’s desire to surpass the U.S. as a superpower during a Senate intelligence committee meeting on Tuesday and said the country posed “not just a whole of government threat, but a whole of society threat” as well.

He went on to add that academia was a particularly rife area for intelligence “collectors,” be it professors, scientists or students.
“It’s not just in major cities; it’s in small ones, as well. It’s across basically every discipline. And I think the level of naiveté on the part of the academic sector about this creates its own issues,” Wray said.

The FBI is also investigating Chinese-backed groups that act as liaisons between Chinese and American academics, the Daily Beast reported.
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates told the Daily Beast, “It is dangerous and irresponsible for him to accuse many individuals seeking a higher education, or to contribute to their field of study, of spying.”
“His remarks only further (insinuate) that Chinese and Chinese Americans continue to be ... racially profiled as perpetual foreigners in the intelligence community,” the statement continued.

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